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Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker

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Published by: Sudhi Adiyodi on Jun 26, 2011
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Peter Drucker
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Peter Ferdinand Drucker
Born
 November 19, 1909Kaasgraben, Vienna, Austria
Died
 November 11, 2005Claremont, California, USA
Occupation
 
Peter Ferdinand Drucker
(November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was a writer,management consultant, and self-described “social ecologist.”
 His books and scholarlyand popular articles explored how humans are organized across the business, governmentand the nonprofit sectors of society.
His writings have predicted many of the major developments of the late twentieth century, including privatization and decentralization;the rise of Japan to economic world power; the decisive importance of marketing; and theemergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learning.
In 1959,Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker " and later in his life consideredknowledge work productivityto be the next frontier of management.
Contents
[hide]
[edit] Personal life and roots of his philosophy
 
The son of a high-level civil servant in Austria-Hungary– his mother Caroline Bondi had studied medicine and his father Adolf Drucker was a lawyer – Drucker was born inVienna, the capital of Austria, in a small village named Kaasgraben (now part of the 19th district of  Vienna,Döbling
 
). He grew up in a home where intellectuals, high governmentofficials, and scientists would meet to discuss new ideas.
After graduating fromDöbling Gymnasium, Drucker found few opportunities for employment in post-Habsburg Vienna, so he moved toHamburg,Germany, first working as an apprentice at an established cotton trading company, then as a journalist, writing for 
 Der ÖsterreichischeVolkswirt 
(
The Austrian Economist 
). Drucker then moved toFrankfurt,where he took a  job at the Daily
 Frankfurter General-Anzeiger 
. While in Frankfurt, he also earned adoctorate ininternational lawand public law from the University of Frankfurtin 1931. Among his early influences was the Austrian economistJoseph Schumpeter ,a friend of  his father’s, who impressed upon Drucker the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Drucker was also influenced, in a much different way, byJohnMaynard Keynes,whom he heard lecture in 1934 in Cambridge. “I suddenly realized that Keynes and all the brilliant economic students in the room were interested in the behavior of commodities,” Drucker wrote, “while I was interested in the behavior of people.”
Over the next 70 years, Drucker’s writings would be marked by a focus on relationshipsamong human beings, as opposed to the crunching of numbers. His books were filledwith lessons on how organizations can bring out the best in people, and how workers canfind a sense of community and dignity in a modern society organized around largeinstitutions.
As a young writer, Drucker wrote two pieces — one on the conservative German philosopher Friedrich Julius Stahl and another called “
The Jewish Question in Germany
 — that were burned and banned by the Nazis.
In 1933, Drucker left Germany for England. InLondon, he worked for an insurance company, then as the chief economist ata private bank. He also reconnected with Doris Schmitz, an acquaintance from theUniversity of Frankfurt. They married in 1934. (His wedding certificate lists his name asPeter Georg Drucker.
) The couple permanently relocated to the United States, where he became a university professor as well as a free-lance writer and  businessconsultant. (Drucker disliked the term “guru,” though it was often applied to him; “I have beensaying for many years,” Drucker once remarked, “that we are using the word ‘guru’ only because ‘charlatan’ is too long to fit into a headline.”)
In 1943, Drucker became anaturalized citizenof theUnited States. He taught at Bennington College from 1942-1949, then at New York Universityas a Professor of  Managementfrom 1950 to 1971. Drucker came to California in 1971, where hedeveloped one of the country's first executive
for working professionalsatClaremont Graduate University(then known as Claremont Graduate School). From1971 to his death he was the Clarke Professor of Social ScienceandManagementat Claremont Graduate University.The university's management school was named the"Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management" (later known as the "Peter F.Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management") in his honor in 1987. Hetaught his last class at the school in 2002 at age 92.
 
[edit] Career
His career as a business thinker took off in 1942, when his initial writings on politics andsociety won him access to the internal workings of General Motors (GM),one of the largest companies in the world at that time. His experiences inEuropehad left himfascinated with the problem of authority. He shared his fascination withDonaldsonBrown, the mastermind behind the administrative controls at GM. In 1943 Brown invitedhim in to conduct what might be called a "political audit": a two-year social-scientificanalysis of the corporation. Drucker attended every board meeting, interviewedemployees, and analyzed production and decision-making processes.The resulting book,
, popularized GM's multidivisionalstructure and led to numerous articles, consulting engagements, and additional books.GM, however, was hardly thrilled with the final product. Drucker had suggested that theauto giant might want to reexamine a host of long-standing policies on customer relations, dealer relations, employee relations and more. Inside the corporation, Drucker’scounsel was viewed as hypercritical. GM's revered chairman, Alfred Sloan, was so upsetabout the book that he “simply treated it as if it did not exist,” Drucker later recalled,“never mentioning it and never allowing it to be mentioned in his presence.”
Drucker taught that management is “a liberal art,” and he infused his management advicewith interdisciplinary lessons from history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, cultureand religion.
 He also believed strongly that all institutions, including those in the private sector, have a responsibility to the whole of society. “The fact is,” Drucker wrotein his 1973
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices
, “that in modern society thereis no other leadership group but managers. If the managers of our major institutions, andespecially of business, do not take responsibility for the common good, no one else can or will.”
Drucker was interested in the growing effect of people who worked with their mindsrather than their hands. He was intrigued by employees who knew more about certainsubjects than their bosses or colleagues and yet had to cooperate with others in a largeorganization. Rather than simply glorify the phenomenon as the epitome of human progress, Drucker analyzed it and explained how it challenged the common thinkingabout how organizations should be run.His approach worked well in the increasingly mature business world of the second half of the twentieth century. By that time, large corporations had developed the basicmanufacturing efficiencies and managerial hierarchies of  mass production. Executives thought they knew how to run companies, and Drucker took it upon himself to poke holesin their beliefs, lest organizations become stale. But he did so in a sympathetic way. Heassumed that his readers were intelligent, rational, hardworking people of good will. If their organizations struggled, he believed it was usually because of outdated ideas, anarrow conception of problems, or internal misunderstandings.

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